A committee of representatives from the government and the three ruling parties agreed Friday to begin construction on three new bullet train sections in fiscal 1997.The committee had been discussing the proposed public work projects, under which runs would be built between:1) Hachinohe and Shin Aomori on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line;2) Nagano and Joetsu on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line;3) Funakoya and Shin Yatsushiro on the Kyushu Shinkansen Line.”As it has been confirmed that the proposed shinkansen at the three sections would bring an improvement in the annual balance of revenue and expenses (of JR firms), I understand that the committee basically decided to start the construction,” Transport Minister Takao Fujii said.A total of 3 billion yen was allocated for the construction of the three sections in fiscal 1997, which ends March 31. Total construction costs are estimated at 1.2 trillion yen. The final decision, to be made during the next committee meeting later this month, is subject to the consent of JR firms that operate the bullet trains, and of related local governments, Fujii said.Figures submitted to the committee indicate that operating bullet trains along the planned section of the Tohoku Shinkansen Line would improve the annual balance of earnings and expenses by about 6 billion yen to 7.5 billion yen a year, when compared with the existing train network. The improvement is expected to occur 10 years after the start of the bullet train service. Similarly, the improvement in the annual balance of revenue and expenses due to the planned section on the Kyushu Shinkansen Line is expected to be somewhere between 4 billion yen and 5 billion yen, and between zero and 100 million yen for the section of the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, according to calculations.

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